The Lord reclaimed His Angel, Doris Regina MacKenzie Ehrens, into His arms on May 23, 2021. She was a woman overflowing with joy, caring, and love. Born in Quincy, Massachusetts to a family of European immigrants, she was raised in the house that has been Home to four generations of her Family, where her Mother, Gertrude MacKenzie, still lives to this day as our Matriarch. Her Grandmother, Karona Lutz, was a gentle soul who provided the warmth that nurtured all those who knew her to believe in being good, right, and true. Doris held her Grandfather, Karl, in such high esteem that she named her Son after him, and told stories of sitting on his lap as a child. Her Father, Francis MacKenzie, was a Sergeant Gunner in the Army and Commander of the Quincy Veterans’ Council, whom she cherished. She and her older Brother, William MacKenzie, were the first branches of the tree with American roots tied to the MacKenzie line. The close bond formed between siblings as children carried on into adulthood, and he remained by her side until the end.
As a youth, Doris attended Quincy Public Schools, where she met her lifelong Friend Donna Adams. The innocence from which this friendship grew blossomed into confidence that there was support wherever and whenever it was needed. The families were intertwined, becoming Godparents of each other’s children. Throughout her life, the two would chat on the phone each day with simple pleasantries, and in the worst of times, Donna provided selfless care as an inseparable companion. Donna’s friendship was the goodness that we all wish to share with other people, and the type of friend we should all aspire to be.
Doris excelled in academics and graduated near the top of her class from North Quincy High School, then continued on to the University of Maine in the late 60’s, where she earned a Liberal Arts Degree. While her intention afterwards was to pursue a career in Broadway musicals, she decided to take a road trip with friends across Canada and ended up in Alaska, where she met Bruce J. Ehrens. As the story goes, he had a Dodge Challenger with a motorized, extendable antenna that he was eager to show off. While maintaining her flare for the exuberant through a brief phase as a moderate Flower Child, she applied to Law School and was accepted at the University of Denver. She and Bruce continued a long distance relationship throughout, which culminated in a marriage in Quincy and Honeymoon at Disney World. After graduating as one of the pioneers among female Attorneys, she returned to settle in Fairbanks, Alaska. There she gave birth to her only Son.
While in Alaska, she found employment as an Attorney and was offered a Partnership at a prestigious Law firm, but refused because she wanted to focus on being a Mother. While some may question this logic, for her personality type, this was an obvious choice. Her romantic relationship cooled soon after, so she decided it would be best to return to Quincy and raise her Son in the Family Home. That being said, Bruce did make an effort to co-Parent from a distance, which led her Son through a superlative series of formative experiences all across the United States.
Back in Massachusetts, Doris found work as Counsel at Murphy, Lamere, & Murphy. There, she was offered flexible hours to focus on her Son’s educational, athletic, and musical pursuits. However, she was able to save enough to purchase her own house, about a block from the Family Home. This allowed for shared responsibilities and typical family experiences, while creating enough space to feel independent. She advocated for having a broad and dynamic perspective on the world, and was welcoming to a dynamic range of people from different backgrounds. She could find the good in everyone. This culminated in her becoming Godmother to the Luc children, of whom she kept in touch with Stephanie the most into adulthood. Every year, she would arrange an Easter egg hunt for the kids after Church service.
Doris was a devout Christian. She was Baptized and Confirmed into Wollaston Lutheran Church, and returned as an adult to confer the same blessing upon her Son. There, she found love again in J. David Congalton, and was happy. Each was a parent from a prior relationship, but offered open hearts to both children as family; Phoebe Morad was dear to Doris. Dave made her laugh, and she fawned upon him among his large group of friends. As active socialites, she enjoyed challenging waiters with her drink of choice, a Bombay Gin Martini, extra dry, straight up, with rocks on the side and an olive. He and Bruce were amicable, and both were a part of the Family’s happiest moments.
When her prior Law office closed, Doris was hired as Counsel by Murphy, Hesse, Toomey, & Lehane in Quincy. After her Son moved away, she began to focus more on her work. Although her employment there ended prior to her death, she would often still speak of Mary Ellen Sowyrda as a friend. Highlights from her career included arguing before the Massachusetts Supreme Court, being elected to the Super Lawyers list, acting as a City Counsel Official, Bar and pro hac vice admissions in multiple states, and winning her final case as Lead Attorney in a national landmark decision.
For most of Doris’s adult life, she also was on staff as the Organist for Wollaston Lutheran Church. She practiced in her spare time during the week and took her post each Sunday, which over the years developed into deep bonds with Pastor Law and Pastor Wismar. When music was heard coming from the building, it was her most of the time.
While she was attuned to the Classical genre, Doris’s favorite musician was Bob Dylan. This was evident in times of celebration, as she would brighten the room with her cheerful, easygoing, and jovial Spirit. Her love for the arts continued alongside Dave, who was a professional Photographer. Much in step with his jocularity, she found humor in Salvador Dali’s, “Venus de Milo with Drawers.” She was a talented artist in her own right, though, and painted a treasured picture from memory of her beloved little mascot pup Chip Chip.
If there was one thing that brought Doris the purest joy in this world, it was dogs. She was a dog lover through and through, and the dogs loved her in return. The pack would flock to her, and she endured every slobbery dog kiss with a smile. In play times, she would sing a sweet lullaby and one line went, “…Chip and Rocky, go together like a puck and hockey…” which was greeted with wagging tails and smiles.
Neighbors would often see Doris out with the dogs or while gardening in the yard, which brought her personal satisfaction in the summer months. She had affable relationships with the Sweatt and McLaren families for many years, and there was often generous Holiday giving. If anyone ever needed a ladder or tool, it could be borrowed, and shoveling snow for each other was common, without expecting anything in return.
Doris was an avid Sports fan. Her favorite team was the Red Sox, and she took great pride in Boston victories. In specific, the 2004 World Series was a memorable occasion for the whole family, whose life events were the subject of a relevant song written by her Son. She spent festive occasions with Dora Papile and Maria Tiant, and would get tickets from Luis Tiant to sit in the Players’ family section at Fenway Park.
For the majority of her life, though, the core of her family consisted of her Mother and Son, who live on. Her Uncle, “Unk”, Karl Lutz Jr., is also included as a lifelong resident of the Family Home, and remembered for his evening head bumps to say good night, activity with the American Legion, and love of baseball before his passing. Doris’s remains will join his, as well as her Father's and Grandparents’, at Mount Wollaston Cemetery. Before she passed, she shared just one Bible verse with her Son, Dr. Karl Leonard Ehrens, M.D. — Jeremiah 29:11